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In "Playtest," the psychologically horrifying world of virtual reality is nicely counterbalanced by the sheer likability of the episode's protagonist played by the charismatic Wyatt Russell.
[Shut Up and Dance] stood out more for its presentation and mood than its actual plotting.
Playtest is happy to swap deeper probing for a succession of clever shocks, and a bitterly funny... punchline of an ending. The result is an episode that is gripping but not enduringly frightening; a nightmare that won't linger too long after you wake up.
Playtest is the perfect fusion of Brooker's fascination with the human condition and director Dan Trachtenberg's knack for psychological horror, served with all the ingredients necessary for another night of blood-curdling nightmares.
Ultimately, all of those scares climax with an ending that is inscrutable in the best possible ways.
Trachtenberg seems aware of the deeply silly nature of this cautionary tech fable, eventually cashing in on a kitschy, pseudo-Twilight Zone kicker that might feel like cheating - that is, if the journey to "Playtest's" ending wasn't quite so fun.
Playtest ultimately feels awkwardly crafted. Subplots are left unresolved, the side characters and corporate mischief-implications are completely undeveloped.
Playtest concludes with two flourishes of irony, one situational and one verbal.
With its extra twisty ending, "Playtest" pulls on the heartstrings. The horror romp warns of the near-future dangers of virtual and augmented reality, and the story's protagonist is a likable character - a rarity in the Black Mirror world.
This one could have had a decent Twilight Zone vibe, because it had good scares, but that actor ruins everything.
A unsettling story that takes advantage of psychological terror, with the occasional scare included. [Full Review in Spanish]